Advanced Style is a documentary that shows the lives of seven unique New Yorkers who's eclectic unique style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen's famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging and Western culture's increasing obsession with youth, all the while being thrust into new found fame. Written by
Life-Enhancing Documentary About New York Fashionistas
ADVANCED STYLE looks at the work of Ari Cohen, a New York-based photographer whose blog (also called Advanced Style) has succeeded in creating stars out of a series of women, all living in New York, and all aged over 50, who cultivate their own particular fashion styles.
Lina Plioplyte's documentary features several of these women from different social backgrounds, who willingly allow themselves to be photographed, and who feature in a variety of entertainments, culminating in an appearance in Los Angeles on THE RICKI LAKE SHOW. All of them are brimming with self-confidence; they make few concessions to their age, in the belief that they exist to make the very best out of every single day they live on this earth. Their clothes are wonderful - brightly colored, exotically shaped - and their hairstyles equally innovative. To watch them pose, and respond to the (anonymous) interviewer's questions is an exhilarating experience: even if you are old in terms of years, and have suffered from illness, that does not you mean you have to retire from life's fray. The subjects of this documentary are living proof that the feelgood factor associated with personal style helps to keep the women young in heart.
At the same time Plioplyte does not shy away from the realities of growing old. One of the interviewees has to recover from a serious operation, while her husband is nearly blind; another cannot see the pictures of the great African American dancers adorning the entrance-hall walls of Harlem's Apollo Theater. A ninety-five-year- old fashion icon faints during a show at New York's Lincoln Center and passes away.
While being well aware of how their bodies might be deteriorating, the interviewees are nonetheless determined to show their style off; they are not frightened of walking up and down New York's streets. For them the entire city is a performance-area, whose wide sidewalks are designed for pedestrian-actors.
At the center of the film stands Cohen, a photographer with a genuine sympathy for his subjects. He neither talks down to them nor objectifies them; his sole purpose is to show that the fashion industry's perpetual preoccupation with youth is often erroneous. The fact that his blog has proved so successful is living testament to the validity of his cause.
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